'Jason and the Argonauts' to open April 20
Adventure, adversity and action figures. Oregon Children's Theatre presents a quirky and hilarious retelling of the Greek classic "Jason and the Argonauts" this spring at the Winningstad Theatre. This performance marks another first for the performing arts company: an international collaboration with Visible Fictions, based in Scotland.
"Visible Fictions toured their production of 'Jason and the Argonauts' internationally for many years," said Director Marcella Crowson. "But this is the first time they are allowing another organization to produce their show." During early conversations about the origins of the script, Crowson and Visible Fictions' Aristic Director Douglas Irvine discovered a shared affection for the films of Ray Harryhausen. The 1963 film "Jason and the Argonauts," featuring Harryhausen's distinctive stop-motion visual effects, was the inspiration for the Visible Fictions adaptation in 2007.
"We were drawn to this script and the production because of its imaginative approach to storytelling," Crowson said. The script, written by Robert Forrest, features a two-actor cast playing more than 15 different characters and creatures. The two main characters, Josh and Andy (played by Heath Koerschgen and Jamesm Sharinghousen) embark on a whirlwind retelling of the classic tale using action figures, paper boats and other household items. The result is an imagination-packed adventure.
Crowson and Irvine will co-direct the production. The collaborative creative process began last summer with cross-continental casting. While auditions took place in Portland, photos, videos and resumes were shared with Irvine in Glasgow. The collaboration continues beyond direction: The original set from Visible Fictions' production is being transported to the Winningstad, and original designs for costumes were used to create the looks for each character.
"It is very important to us to honor their production as we bring it to life on our stage," Crowson said. "And we hope that this opens the door for possible future collaborations."
"Jason and the Argonauts" opens April 20 and continues through May 19 with shows Saturday at 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. and Sunday at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Tickets are $20-$32 for adults and $15-$18 for youth. The show is recommended for ages 7 and up.
Purchase tickets online at octc.org or call the box office at 503-229-9571.